When you look back on your childhood, only some of your youthful experiences have likely stood the test of time. You probably don’t remember every meal, every weekend trip, or every sunburn, but some moments remain etched in your memory. Some experiences leave a deeper impression than others.
Phillips and Company recently tried to determine those activities that provide the most fulfilling childhood experience. They came up with a list of ten.
1 – Being Part of a Team
Life is full of moments when teamwork is essential to success. Group projects come up in academia and again in work life. To successfully navigate life, at some point an individual must work well with others. Being part of a team, understanding what it means to have others depend on you, and having to rely on others, makes future cooperation a natural instinct.
Also, knowing what it feels like both to win and to lose gives us more empathy for others and provides early insight into the ups and downs of adult life.
2 – Camping
Kids growing up in towns and cities miss out on a lot of what nature has to offer. Kids in major cities may not get up close with nature at all during their childhoods. The occasional camping trip can remedy that. Not only is a well-designed camping trip full of kid-friendly activities—like roasting hot dogs, making s’mores, taking hikes and telling ghost stories— it’s full of opportunities for kids to learn, explore and enjoy the fresh air.
3 – Chores
Unless your kids were born into wealth, eventually they are going to have to work. Even if learning and socializing come easily to them, if there is something they want enough, most kids will still have to work for it. If they want to be class president, they’ll need to campaign. If they want a new car, they’ll have to pay for it, or at least pay for the gas to make it go.
Eventually, people stop handing you everything and life requires work. Instilling that lesson early makes it less of a shock in early adulthood.
4 – Snow
Like the great outdoors, snow is a luxury that not every person gets to enjoy. As adults, the white powder may not seem like much of a luxury when you are shoveling it from the driveway or driving ten miles per hour through a blizzard on your way to work. As a kid, though, there are few things as magical as waking up to inches of white that provide you with both a day off of school and a bright new fluffy winter playground.
5 – Farm Life
While we can’t all live on a farm, we can all visit, and a visit to a local farm is a good lesson in just how hard some people in the world work. Witnessing the processes of farm life also teaches kids vital lessons about where food comes from and what they eat.
6 – Running a Lemonade Stand
A lesson in entrepreneurship never hurt anyone, child or adult. If you want your kids to succeed, let them want to succeed. When they want to create that lemonade stand, have a bake sale or sell their brilliant artwork, foster that drive. To succeed in life, one must have the drive to succeed, so letting your kids run with their money-making schemes may be one of the greatest lessons you can ever teach them.
7 – Flying a Kite
Flying a kite is a simple activity that even young kids can generally master, though it may take them a little time to get the kite into the air. Trying to get the kite up teaches patience and perseverance. Finally, seeing it floating on the breeze teaches the satisfaction in accomplishment.
8 – Bowling
Like flying a kite, bowling must be learned. Just getting the ball to stay in the lane takes some practice. Getting the ball to knock down all the pins takes considerably more. Since the better you get, the more pins you knock down, bowling is a good lesson in the effort it takes to succeed.
9 – The Fair
There are few things redeeming about a state or county fair. You eat too much, you ride rides until you’re sick, you play games that you rarely win. That’s what makes it worth doing. While it’s important to teach your kids how to get ahead in life, it’s just as important to remind them that sometimes it’s okay just to have fun.
10 – Cooking
It can be “too late” to teach a child how to cook. That point usually comes once the child is out of the house, eating cold soup from cans, and comes regularly knocking at your door, begging for a home-cooked meal. To give your child their best chance at surviving early adulthood, let them spend some time in the kitchen. A kid that can cook and clean up his or her own mess is a kid that won’t have a difficult transition into their first solo home.
Kids are all different, so not all of these experiences will be as memorable for some as for others, but they offer some good insight into what makes childhood fulfilling. To give your kids the most out of their youth, keep their experiences diverse and squeeze plenty of life lessons into the fun.